No. 1: Nightwing
Aliases: Richard Grayson, The first Robin, The Boy Wonder, the second Batman
“Because when you get down to it, my life isn’t about the costumes or the bad guys. It’s not about cities or symbols. It’s way simpler than that. I mean, I grew up in a circus. It’s always been about catching people when they fall.”
- Master Martial Artist (trained by Batman)
- Extreme Agility (DCU’s finest acrobat)
- Master detective
- Expert Escapologist
- Expert Hacker
- Master Tracker
- Peak human conditioning (again, trained by Batman)
Origin and Synopsis
One of the biggest names in all of DC comics, and yet somehow also the most obscure. Everyone knows Robin – he’s Batman’s sidekick. And the Robin everyone knows is Dick Grayson.
Dick Grayson was a circus kid, a member of family of renowned acrobats known as the Amazing Flying Graysons.
But one day the circus, threatened by criminals trying to extort money out of them, suffered a tragedy when the Flying Graysons act was sabotaged. Dick Grayson looked on in horror as his parents fell to their deaths. Bruce Wayne, seeing a kindred spirit in the young boy whose family had been taken away by the crime of Gotham city, adopted young Dick Grayson, and eventually made him Robin – a major reason why Batman never adopted more brutal tactics in his never ending crusade against Gotham’s criminals.
But what a lot of people don’t know (or don’t remember) is that Dick Grayson grew up, quit being Robin and decided to go his own way (there have actually been five Robins now). Batman, after witnessing Robin come too close to death one day, decides to force him to stop crime-fighting. Dick Grayson, now eighteen years old, vehemently disagrees with Bruce Wayne, leading to a major falling out between the two.
“If you want Robin to stay dead, that’s okay with me. But you’ve trained me too well – made me what I am. You can’t keep me from pursuing my own destiny.”
- Richard Grayson to Bruce Wayne, the day he stopped being Robin.
Seeking purpose, Dick Grayson eventually spoke to the only possible person who could inspire him to find his own way – none other than Batman’s best friend and sometimes adversary, Superman. Superman told Dick Grayson the legend of two Kryptonian Batman-and-Robin-esque heroes, known as Flamebird and Nightwing, and Dick Grayson took the identity of Nightwing, becoming a masked vigilante once more, a hero in his own right. He took to Bludhaven – a city which was in an even worse state than Gotham and became its protector, setting up headquarters not unlike that of his mentor.
“It’s a hopeless case. A lost cause. A town so mired in corruption and sin that it’s drowning … When Batman sent me here, I thought I’d solve one case and book. But then I realized … if I could make a difference here — well, that’d be something. This filthy old town needs me.
Surrounded by a dozen of my worst enemies. No way out. Nowhere to hide.
I love it.”
-Nightwing, about Bludhaven
The training he received from Bruce Wayne proved wildly successful – and a run-in with his old mentor showed his capacity to surpass him. In time, Batman and Nightwing mended the rift between them, and the two have worked together many times.
Following Bruce Wayne’s injury at the hands of Bane, Dick Grayson temporarily took his place as Batman, albeit reluctantly. When Bruce Wayne set up the Batman Inc, Dick Grayson continued to serve as Batman, and took on the fifth Robin – Damien Wayne – as his sidekick.
Following the return of the second Robin – Jason Todd – as the Red Hood, Dick Grayson became embroiled in a battle between himself, Tim Drake (the third Robin, desperate to prove himself) and Jason Todd for the cowl, ultimately proving himself to be Bruce Wayne’s greatest student and becoming the Batman.
It was in this capacity as Batman that he led the second iteration of the Justice League, endorsed by both Superman and Bruce Wayne, who both acknowledged that his leadership ability and social connections surpassed that of Bruce Wayne.
Eventually, however, Dick Grayson would return to Bludhaven and resume his identity as Nightwing. Here he would battle against his most recurring and deadliest adversary – the mercenary known as Deathstroke.
- Wing-dings (Nightwing styled batarangs)
- Batsuit (sleeker design)
- Utility Belt
- Electrified escrima sticks
- Nightwing’s fighting style has been described as elegant, close to dancing in its grace, incorporating Capoeira and Tae Kwon Do seamlessly. However, when Dick Grayson serves as Batman, his fighting style mirrors that of Bruce Wayne – much rougher, more ‘ground and pound’. When questioned about this, Dick replies: ‘Batman doesn’t dance’.
- Nightwing has served as members of two powerful teams – the Teen Titans (as Robin, then later as Nightwing) and the Justice League (as Batman II)
- Nightwing claims that he hates having a cape, and that when he got his own costume, it was the first thing he got rid of. However, he acknowledges the cape as being part of Batman’s image, and so dons it without complaint when serving as the Dark Knight.
- Acknowledged as Batman’s finest student, and one of the top hand-to-hand fighters in the DC universe, capable of defeating even his mentor.